October 12, 2011
Politicians depend on seeming like regular people to get elected, and President Barack Obama has been no exception. Apart from his compelling personal story, Obama hasn't been shy about telling the country how much he loves basketball, whether that involves filling out his NCAA tournament bracket on ESPN or repping the Chicago Bulls at every opportunity.
So it should come as little surprise that he weighed in on the NBA lockout during a fundraiser in Florida. Video is above, but here are the key quotes (via EOB):
"I have to say, that backstage I had a chance to see [Orlando Magic center] Dwight Howard," Obama said. "Dwight is a great friend. I told him, 'I'm a little heartbroken that the NBA season is getting delayed here.' I'm hoping those guys are back on the court soon."
It's notable that Obama doesn't take a side on the issues of the lockout -- he just wants basketball. It's the politically expedient, both because he can't seem like too much of a pinko union lover nor appear too indebted to the billionaire oligarchs who own NBA franchises. He doesn't even make a joke about how the union made concessions before negotiations started, just like he did during the health care, stimulus and debt ceiling talks. Such admirable restraint!
However, in professing a vague desire to get something done that's divorced from the facts on the ground, Obama has essentially taken the view of voters who want him to "fix Washington" without giving any indication on how that result can be reached. It's a position that can only lead to disappointment, if it's not based on willful ignorance altogether. It's the simple way out of dealing with a complex problem. We need leadership, not empty rhetoric.
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